4 out of 4 stars
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What comes to your mind when you think of slavery? If somehow before you were born, you knew that you would be born a slave, would you still want to be born? If your children and loved ones were also slaves, traded, forced to mate like livestock, and overworked without pay, would you still think life was worth living?
The Womb Rebellion is an intense and captivating narrative that quickly introduces us to a gripping scene between Pearl, a midwife, and Ruby, a rebel by day zero, who refuses to be born into a life of slavery. Ruby loses the battle, but not her rebellious spirit. The story allows us to delve into her thoughts, her life as a slave, and her ultimate act of defiance; an act that throws the whole Bellamy plantation upside down.
The narrative is mostly told from Pearl’s perspective in the first person. Through her recollections, we frequently encounter Ruby, a daring, strong-willed girl who has a mind of her own. The stories she would often tell Pearl about her experiences are also in the first-person point of view, and this made it easy to get to know Ruby as a multidimensional character. Ruby said and did things that would have me laughing out loud, and other times, just like Pearl, I would struggle with some of her decisions. Still, I admired her determination and courage. Other characters were also convincing and well fleshed-out, and just when I thought I knew all about a character, a new, unexpected dimension is brought to light.
The Womb Rebellion left me with a lot to think about, long after I read the last page. By focusing on the experiences of women in slavery, it highlighted the different experiences of the two genders as well as the compulsory gender-based slave roles. I felt compassionate for the men and women who had to live through a time like that. The book, being a work of historical fiction gives it a nice blend of history and fiction, which fans of the genre will undoubtedly appreciate. I know I did.
Ruby's story is divided into three parts: Books 1, 2, and 3. I was flying through the pages, but after the first two parts, the story slowed down a little as the narrative took on an air of mysticism. With mysticism came actions from Ruby that I could not fully understand; why would she hurt the slaves and not the slave masters? I think I understand what her actions were meant to do. However, I still thought the method and extremes were a bit strange.
In her debut novel, the author, P.W. Long impressed me with an exciting story, vivid descriptions, and memorable characters. The dialogue was masterfully done and fit the setting. Based on the books I have read, I would say this one has a medium level of violence, but sensitive readers may view it as extreme due to the nature of deaths. The book also has a few descriptions of sexual acts, which make me think it would be best suited for a mature audience. Considering everything I mentioned above, I think the book is worth 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend The Womb Rebellion to anyone interested in reading about slavery from women’s perspective and fans of the genre.
The Womb Rebellion
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